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The long-awaited day when the EU’s GDPR bill came into effect finally arrived on Friday May 25. Europeans are in a new data regulatory regime.

The first effect companies will notice is that their mailing lists have probably been dramatically sheared. Many consumers have welcomed GDPR to drastically reduce the mass of unsolicited emails that come into their inbox each day.

Writing on influential technology website www.zdnet.com, tech commentator Jack Schofield spoke for consumers when he said: “I don’t read most emails because if I did, I’d never get any work done.

GDPR coverage prompted Schofield to analyse what comes into his inbox every day. He said: “If my search turned up a bunch of useless emails, I unsubscribed. As a result, my mailbox is slimmer and should be cleaner in the future.”

“With those who did not opt in to receiving further communications from your organisation and those – like Schofield – who were prompted to carry out a root-and-branch spring clean of their communications, unsubscribing; it might worry you to see your mailing list dwindle.”

But don’t panic. The new regime might turn out to be a great way for companies to re-engage with their customer base by only emailing those who actively want to hear from you – removing those who were simply diverting your emails to their spam folder anyway.

With GDPR, you have likely lost those whom you already alienate with unnecessary communication.

And that’s no bad thing: a recent survey in the US for IBM found that whilst only 20 per cent of customers completely trust companies to maintain the privacy of their data,

  • 84 per cent believe that GDPR compliance will be seen by the public as a positive differentiator of a company

  • 76 per cent said that GDPR will bring more trusted relationships with data subjects, and that these will create new business opportunities

This is a golden opportunity to rebuild a relationship with your database that is characterised by trust and a genuine willingness to listen to your message; wise companies will welcome the new regime as the start of a new era for talking – and listening – to existing and potential customers. The only challenge there is that we should anticipate a flurry of new marketing activity as businesses grow their contacts lists again from scratch.

To help UK organisations, Me Learning has worked with specialist data privacy lawyers Clayden Law to develop a wide portfolio of online GDPR training courses. For more information, click here.

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